Children at refugee camp in Liberia

Nonprofit Spotlight: Help Refugees with the Blue Key Campaign

On occasion, we like to take a break from our regular content to highlight a worthy cause outside of our normal discussions of business and customer service.

Children at refugee camp in LiberiaThis Nonprofit Spotlight is dedicated to the Blue Key Campaign, which is a “U.S. based initiative to channel the energy of individual citizens to speak out for refugees.

The campaign aims to provide a broadened base of support for the leading organization safeguarding the rights and well-being of displaced people around the world — the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).”


So, Why the Blue Key Campaign?

I discovered Blue Key from the efforts of my friend Shonali Burke whose PR agency represents the Blue Key Campaign, and I am now honored to call myself a Blue Key Champion.

The Blue Key Campaign seeks to help alleviate some of the suffering associated with the global refugee crisis, a crisis that most of us rarely hear about unless there is a natural disaster or large-scale conflict. Here is a little about the Blue Key Campaign from their site:

“In December 2011, UNHCR will commemorate 60 years of working to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees and internally displaced people. 

Our goal is for 6,000 U.S. residents – thoughtful, caring people like you — to get a Blue Key. By doing so, you’ll tell the millions of refugees worldwide that they’re not invisible, and our staff that their live-saving work does not go unnoticed.


Who is a Refugee?

Joseph Stalin once opined that “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.” If true, this quote comes directly from the mouth of a monster who embraced its message to nightmarish effect.

While Stalin is long gone, there are scores of monsters across the world who recreate his legacy of pain and cruelty every day. They operate in the shadows of places many of us have not heard of, dark corners of the globe that are a thousand miles away from the Real Housewives, high speed Internet, and venti soy lattes. Places, quite frankly, most Westerners don’t even want to think about.

And while the statistics are sobering, they do not move us. What resonates more are the personal tales of those who have suffered. And I would like to share just one of those tales with you.

Below is the story of Scisa Rumenge of the Congo. Of the many heartrending stories UNHCR has on its YouTube channel, I found Scisa’s story to be particularly powerful. Please take the time to watch Scisa’s story and then check in at the end of the post to see how you can double your contribution to this important cause.

Scisa’s story is unique, but sadly, not uncommon. It is retold every day, thousands of times; every year, millions.

I know it is hard to believe that $5 and five minutes of your time will do anything in the face of such immense suffering. It is a natural feeling, but whenever I begin to feel that way, I try to remember the classic parable of the starfish:

A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked, he could see a young boy in the distance. As he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

As the man drew closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back.

The man asked the boy what he was doing, and the boy replied,”I am throwing these starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die.”

“But,” said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening all along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The boy smiled, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the sea. “I made a difference to that one!”


Please take 5 minutes to get your Blue Key now and make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate.


And if you buy your key within the next 48 hours, you have the chance to double your contribution…

Double Your Impact

For the first 25 Blue Keys purchased in the next 48 hours, we will double the amount by purchasing a matching Blue Key.


The counter above reads 3,528 as of the time of publication. We will match the first 25 keys sold between now and 8:30am EST on Friday, whether sold through this blog or not.

So, please… take five minutes now and purchase a $5 key (or more) to help those who need help most. You’ll feel better knowing you did. (*Note: Changes were made to the original text of this post to clarify that, technically, a $5 Blue Key is considered a purchase, not a donation.)


Please share your thoughts on the refugee crisis, Scisa’s story, and the Blue Key campaign in the comments below.



By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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22 replies
  1. Shonali Burke
    Shonali Burke says:

    This is so generous of you, Adam – thank you! And thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful post that shows just how every single person can make a difference. You’re a great #bluekey Champion!

  2. Bill Dorman
    Bill Dorman says:

    Great post Adam; I had a similar one as well and more than happy to do what I could.

    This is certainly a great cause and in our own small way, bring increased awareness to this.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Craig McBreen
    Craig McBreen says:

    Hi Adam,

    A very good cause and thanks to you and Shonali, and a reminder from Lisa Gerber I was mad aware of it. I was able to get a pin, thanks to you guys 🙂 Great cause and it’s nice when we can operate in the blogosphere to help in such a way.

  4. Rob Benwell
    Rob Benwell says:

    You’re the “MAN” Adam. Such a wonderful post. It’s realization also for each one of us that we’re lucky enough from them. In your own simple way a bridge of help was built. Through this post I’m sure more people are willing to help them.

  5. Carl Jhonson
    Carl Jhonson says:

    Good resource. It’s the realization also for each one of us that we’re lucky enough from them. In your own simple way a bridge of help was built. Through this post I’m sure more people are willing to help them. Keep up it, thanks for sharing.

  6. Lorrie
    Lorrie says:

    Good day I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found you by error, while I was browsing on Aol for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a incredible post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the superb work.

    • Adam Toporek
      Adam Toporek says:

      Hi Lorrie,

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I really appreciate it and am glad you stumbled across it — even by accident! 🙂 I hope you enjoy the other content when you get to it, and I look forward to getting to know you better.

      Thanks again for your comment and for becoming a reader!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Read his full post on IntenseFence Management Solutions. […]

  2. […] this means reflections on family and friends, on health and happiness. Having just posted about the Blue Key campaign and the global refugee crisis, I am even more conscious of the many things we have to be thankful […]

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